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The CEO’s View – Carl Castledine, CEO of Away Resorts

How would you describe the business’ relationship with LDC?

“We have a superb relationship with LDC. They are thoroughly engaged, and it’s an invested partnership as opposed to what I would call an employer/employee partnership. They invest in the assets and the management team, and we’re growing together.

“I expected a cordial and professional relationship, as is usual with private equity houses, but the engagement we’ve received from LDC across numerous levels, including managing our own careers and what’s next for us, has been eye opening.”

How has LDC’s investment helped your business ambitions?

“LDC’s backing has given us the freedom to invest and grow where we have identified good opportunities, and we are working to change the way that the UK leisure sector is viewed by attracting a new demographic of users. They showed complete belief in us as a management team and have provided additional capital that has enabled us to invest further in our business, with the completion of two strategic acquisitions and a considerable expansion programme across our existing sites.”

How far has Away Resorts come since partnering with LDC?

“Since the secondary buyout, our business has transformed and grown to such an extent that it’s almost unrecognisable – in a good way! Following the initial investment, we submitted a new strategic proposal as the transaction research indicated that millennial customers were looking for much more from the holiday park sector. We wanted to be trailblazers in this space, so we reviewed our strategy and alongside LDC we took a more positive investment stance, which is already delivering an enhanced customer experience and record breaking numbers for us.”

What advice would you give to ambitious businesses who are looking to drive growth?

“I’d encourage management teams to engage with an investor that will provide support and guidance throughout the growth process. It’s critical to decision making to have engaging investors on side. Also have research to back up your motivations, and personal passions as it’s vital to have this cold hard data.

“LDC backs the company, the business plan, and most importantly the management team. Once they’ve invested, they’re completely respectful that you have the skillset to run your business. The partnership is worth it! It also enables you to have your share of a bigger business. I would highly recommend people look for private equity investment if they have the ambition to grow their business.”